There Is a Blessing in the Lesson Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 507

Laurel and I will be heading to Columbus this week again to lead the Day of Atonement services (Yom Kippur) and I wanted to share an event that occurred just 3 weeks ago to the associate rabbi and the lesson I gleaned from it.

As many of you know, this holiday season is analogous to the spring tax season for accountants! There is SO much preparation and Laurel and I have been creating, writing, and rehearsing for quite some time.

The young associate rabbi of the congregation, an avid bike rider, in full gear and helmet, was hit by a car, though he remembers nothing of the incident, and was found sandwiched between two parked cars, unconscious on the curb. When he came to, he had a sense of where he was, he was able to call for help, and then passed out again. He arrived at the hospital nearby, but due to the nature of his head injuries, he was transferred to a level one trauma center to be assessed.

Thankfully, the prognosis was optimistic. Severe concussion, fractured skull, broken facial and sinus cavity, but all would heal in due time. He was released days later to complete bed rest, no lifting, no physical activity, and no thinking. The brain needed complete rest.

How was he to write the holiday sermons if he was ordered not to think? He didn’t. He stubbornly followed orders and rested in bed. Who would take care of the congregants, do the cooking, cleaning, write his sermons and watch his 3-year-old? In an instant, food started arriving, relatives showed up to take over and his son was in preschool on time every morning. 

He learned that the world continued to turn on its axis even without him. There was food in the house even if he couldn’t cook, and his little one went to school bathed and dressed. Our senior rabbi son-in-law took over and had everything relating to sermons and services covered. Crisis averted.

It’s often difficult to step back, let go of the reins and allow others to help. We fear the horrible things that could happen if we aren’t there to direct it all. We can and should accept the offers of help when difficult situations arise. Everyone wins.

Stay healthy and safe, wear a helmet when biking, and have the strength to be vulnerable and humbled.

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